New report shows Ohio again leader in so-called ‘puppy mills’


CLEVELAND (WJW) — A new report shows Ohio is again a leader in what the Humane Society of the United States calls puppy mills.

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The I-Team dug into a report called the Horrible Hundred, and we found some of the breeders listed are people we’ve exposed before, with new concern about high-volume dog breeders.

For years, the I-Team has investigated the conditions in the cages. Now, the Humane Society report puts a spotlight on what it considers 100 problem puppy mills.

As we reviewed the breeders in the report, we noticed names we had visited in Northeast Ohio and Central Ohio 2 and 3 years ago after inspectors had found violations.

“The horrible conditions these dogs are kept in show these breeders are doing the absolute minimum,” said Corey Roscoe, Ohio director for the Humane Society of the U.S.

The new report found Ohio has the second most problem breeders in the country. Year after year, Ohio ranks high. The Humane Society found breeders failing inspections several times, or not allowing inspectors in for a look. Yet, they are still doing business selling dogs.

“Why aren’t they being fined? Why aren’t their licenses being pulled? Why aren’t they being shut down by the state?” asked Roscoe.

Over the years, the I-Team has gone to breeder after breeder while often getting turned away.

Our investigations have shown, Ohio has more than 400 high-volume breeders with just a handful of inspectors going around to check them out. So now, the I-Team is asking again what’s going on with enforcement of the rules for breeders? The rules set up to protect the dogs.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture sent an email saying: 

ODA strives for compliance from our regulated entities. Our CDB license holders are given the opportunity to come into compliance when it is discovered they are not. If they are making progress and an effort toward compliance, ODA will work with them to come into compliance, which may take more than one visit to the site. If a license holder does not make a good faith effort to come into compliance, we work with the ODA Legal Division to take administrative action.

… ODA’s inspectors have never been denied access to perform an inspection. If the inspector is not able to make contact with the person on site who has the ability to grant access to the kennels, it is noted by an inspector as an ‘attempted inspection,’ but that inspector returns to the site at a later time when they are able to gain access to the kennel.

Still, the Humane Society wants more action.

Corey Roscoe said, “We’re definitely going to our state lawmakers. We’ve worked on laws in the past, but you know, laws are only as good as their enforcement.”

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The I-TEAM also has started checking on what new proposals, if any, might already be pending before state lawmakers. Oddly, despite the push for new laws and enforcement, Ohio already has more regulations over breeders than some other states.

For now, though, the new Humane Society report again shows big gaps in protection for the pups.

Read the full report right here.


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